Interview of Sangeeta Prayaga

Interview of Sangeeta Prayaga

Interview of Sangeeta Prayaga

Sangeeta Prayaga is a self-taught Mandala artist and an illustrator who hails from Bangalore. She is Revamping this age-old art by adding her own elements to the traditional design to make it look more beautiful. She also creates adorable illustrations that have created quite a buzz on social media.

We interviewed Sangeeta to find out the secrets behind her ornate art and what inspired her to become an artist.

Art can be perceived differently by different people. How do you perceive art?

Art for me is meditation and a technique to calm myself, a channel through which I can tell my stories and escape from negativity. In short, art for me is my happy place! 

Your Illustrations are so unique, yet send a very strong message. What inspires you to do these? 

I channel my inner voice of positivity through the illustrations of baby elephants called Ganpat Rao and Gaja Lakshmi. I strongly believed that the world needed a therapy elephant, that’s when Ganpat Rao was created, and everyone on my Instagram instantly loved him! For these illustrations, I take inspiration from my own day-to-day life, the positive lessons I learned from my past and the ones that I am learning from my present!

Can you run us through your thought process while brainstorming for artistic inspirations?

I get inspired by the interactions I have with people and my personal experiences. I journal every little thing I learn or realize about life, people and then use them to make the illustrations. That’s one of the reasons why Ganpat Rao sounds so wise!

How have criticisms helped you shape your career?

Thankfully, I take criticism well! I come from a family full of artists. My sister, who is an artist herself, has played an important role in my life when it comes to my growth as an artist. She has always given me constructive criticism and helped me shape my thought process while creating art.

I also seek feedback from my customers after each purchase to improve my product and store! 

Are you ever faced with a creative block? If yes, how do you get over it?

Yes, I have faced creative blocks. There are days when I have no creative ideas at all. On those days, I doodle anything and everything that comes to my mind. I would say drawing something is better than not drawing anything at all.

If you could go back in the past and change a decision that you made, what would it be?

I don’t think I would want to change anything. I am what I am today because of all the good and bad choices I’ve made. I have no regrets and I  just work towards becoming a better person every day. 

What role does music play in the illustrations you do?

My favorite artists are, Ludovico Einaudi, Michael Jackson and Billie Holiday. I listen to them all the time while drawing and their music helps me to get into “THE ZONE”!

How important is traveling for an artist? Do you seek inspiration from every place you visit?

Traveling plays a key role in the artists’ life! I had recently been to Vietnam. There’s so much to learn from the people there. I created illustrations that told stories about the strong women of Vietnam, the delicious food, and the experience of having a Ca Phe! Ganpat Rao loves sharing what he learned from each place he visits.

What advice would you give for the upcoming artists?

Always have a strong purpose for your art. Your artistic skill is your superpower. Use it well! 

If you had to name one person to draw up all the inspiration from, who would that be?

Alicia Souza, hands down! She does put “aw in art”. When it comes to Mandalas, Rashmi Krishnappa and Saudamini Madra are the ones I look upto.

What are your thoughts on Stoned Santa?

First of all, love the name! Also, love the idea and your work. Gifting has always been an issue for me. I am bad when it comes to gifting and my husband will agree with that. I love how Stoned Santa has a gifting expert who can help people like me to find the perfect handcrafted gift. This is something most of us need. 

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The Harmony of Circles – Interview with Saudamini Madra

The Harmony of Circles – Interview with Saudamini Madra

Interview with Saudamini Madra

The Harmony of Circles

Saudamini Madra,Mandala Artist

10th June,2019

Mandala means “a magical circle”. It is a complex abstract design that is usually circular in form. Generally, it has one identifiable center point, from which an array of shapes and symbols are formed.

Sometimes words are not enough to express what we know deep within ourselves. As they say, “When words fail, art speaks.” Mandala art can help us express ourselves through art and increase self awareness.

Saudamini Madra is a Mandala and Zentangle artist based in the US.  She is an apparel product manager by the day and views art as an escape from the everyday chaos of a 9-5 job. Her awe-inspiring work has caught the eyes of viewers from all across the globe.


Since when do you practice art? Who or what inspired you to pursue it?

“Ever since I was a little girl, drawing books and I have been inseparable. My parents encouraged and helped me cultivate this hobby. I studied various art forms and mediums for 3 years (1999 – 2002) and have been practicing since then.”

What made you to develop a liking towards mandalas and zentangles? Do you practice art full time?

“About a year ago, I came across some hand drawn mandalas. The intricate designs drew my attention. My friend encouraged me to draw my first mandala, and I have been obsessed since then.

I am a full-time Product Manager and draw in my free time.”

“Mandalas help us pull together the scattered parts of life and find order.”

Can you guide us through the process of creating Mandalas?

“I start my mandalas with a basic grid. For the patterns, I just go with the flow and enjoy the process of creation. I love seeing how various patterns come together in perfect harmony to create a beautiful mandala.”

Do you connect with mandalas on a spiritual level?

“Yes,  absolutely! I view art as an escape from the ordinary. I always lose track of time when I start working on a piece. Mandalas help us pull together the scattered parts of life and find order.”

Mandala art therapy is practiced widely to deal with stress and anxiety. Has this proven helpful to you?

“I feel any form of art is therapeutic. It has proven to help people dealing with stress and anxiety. It definitely helps me relax, meditate and get lost in the process.”

Is there any particular reason why all your art work is in Black and white? Do you experiment with colours as well?

“I LOVE black and white, even in my clothing choices! I admire the beauty in simplicity. It’s amazing how 2 colours can make such beautiful art pieces. Having said that, I enjoy working with colours too, but I do it rarely.”

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Can you elaborate on the symbolism of mandala art, and the individual symbols used?

“The literal meaning of the word “Mandala” is circle, and circle mandalas are also one of the most commonly available forms of mandalas. Circles have very powerful significance in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Their emergence was first found in regions across the Himalaya and India, where people used the artistic expression of mandalas to form symbolic relationships between the universe and the spirit.”


What medium and tools do you use in mandala creation? What medium would you recommend for a beginning mandala artist? And is it sufficient for a beginner to learn from books and use his/her intuition?

“The tools I mostly use for my mandalas are pencil, protractor, compass ruler and a pen. A pen or pencil is a good medium for a beginner to start practicing. As they get comfortable and more confident with the flow, they can experiment with different mediums.

Everyone starts somewhere! There are so many books and coloring pages available that could be a great starting point for a beginner. Your intuition is the best voice to follow.”

What advice would you give for budding artists?

“Follow your intuition; there are patterns and inspirations all around us! Go with the flow, enjoy the process of creation and cherish the final result that comes together.

Always give credits to the original artist who’s work you have been inspired by.”

What are your thoughts about us (Stoned Santa)?

“Firstly, love the name!! Stoned Santa looks like a great initiative and platform for connecting artists and customers. Gifting is an art and Stoned Santa makes it easy for any customer. The best gifts are personalized, so it makes sense that a marketplace for custom artworks as gifts would do well!”


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What goes around comes around – Decoding Mandalas with Richa Saxena

What goes around comes around – Decoding Mandalas with Richa Saxena

Interview with Richa Saxena

What goes around comes around – Decoding Mandalas with Richa Saxena

Richa Saxena, Mandala Artist 

16th May, 2019

Richa is a self-taught Mandala artist based in Ahmedabad. She grew up admiring her mother’s artwork, and ended up becoming an artist herself.

She believes that art makes life bearable and we should learn to see  life as a mandala – the luminous fringes of experience which radiate spontaneously from the empty nature of our being.

In this interview she talks to us about her love for Mandalas; her workshops; healing powers of art and more.

“Each person’s life is like a mandala – a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life.”

~ Pema Chodron

Tell us a little about your childhood. Who introduced you to art?

“I was a quiet kid who spent countless hours admiring my mother’s artwork. She is my inspiration, role model and mentor. I got my first water-colour kit in my second grade, and I haven’t stopped drawing  ever since”.

What made you develop a liking towards mandalas?

“The colours; intricate designs and patterns; and the intertwined circles made me fall in love with mandalas. It’s been two years since I started creating Mandalas and there’s no stopping”.

Do you connect with mandalas on a spiritual level?

“I view Mandala as more of a meditative art form than a spiritual one. Mandalas help us to stay calm, release stress, loosen our resistance and grow hope”.

“The colours, intricate designs and patterns, intertwined circles made me fall in love with Mandalas”.

Do you agree that mandalas should include some element of free flowing form rather than having the perfect mathematical symmetry?

“Yes, I believe that a mandala can be created either by free flowing or intricate patterns. The common element is the symmetry which has endless possibilities. You just need to have an open and creative mind to explore new avenues”.

When is your next workshop and what can one expect from it?

“I’m conducting my next workshop ‘Intricate Mandalas’ in the mid of June. I’ll be teaching the basics of Mandalas, the techniques behind grid and pattern formations. One can also learn how to come up with their own patterns”.

Do you plan on starting your own merchandise?

“Not anytime soon. Right now my only focus is on creating Mandalas and conducting workshops”.

If you were to learn another art form, what would it be?

“I would love to learn water colour painting as I’ve always been fascinated by it since I was a kid”.

Few snaps from Richa’s workshops.

What advice would you give to the budding artists?

“For beginners, I would ask them to practice on a regular basis and not compare themselves with anyone. One should seek inspiration from other artists if they have a creative block”.

“If we believe in yourself and love what you do, anything is possible”.

Who has been your greatest support throughout your journey?

“This journey hasn’t been easy, but I always had my family by my side. Without them, I would not be here today. My mom is my biggest critic and mentor. The honest feedback which my mom gives helps me to grow not only as an artist but as a person”. 

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Prasun Balasubramaniam – Journey to the centre of Mandalas

Prasun Balasubramaniam – Journey to the centre of Mandalas

Interview with Prasun Balasubramaniam

Journey to the centre of Mandalas with Prasun FineArts

Prasun Balasubramaniam, Mandala Artist

14th May, 2019

Prasun Balasubramaniam is a self-taught Mandala artist and illustrator who hails from Salem, Tamil Nadu. She is known to create intricate, vibrant, and vivid artworks, and believes that Mandalas require intense focus and attention to the present moment, which induces mindfulness. Here, you can read some of the wisdom Prasun shared with us and get a glimpse of her beautiful mandalas that can satisfy the OCD in all of us.

Tell us a little about your childhood? How were you introduced to art?

Growing up in Mumbai, I actively took part in many art competitions and creative activities which kept me occupied. I was introduced to the basics of art in a summer camp. Although my parents never encouraged me much to pursue art thinking it would be a waste of time, I was persistent enough and never stopped drawing.

Prasun with one of the Mandalas she drew on her Studio Wall. 

How did you develop an interest in Mandalas? How has your journey of choosing art as a career been?

After my 10th grade, my family shifted to Salem and having stayed in a happening city like Mumbai, I used to get really bored. Hence, in my free time, I doodled and made Mandalas.

Even during my engineering days, I used to doodle on my notebooks to survive the boring lectures. Thankfully, my teachers thought that I was taking notes.

I was unaware that the doodles I made were called ‘Mandalas’ until I came across an article that spoke about the different types of mandalas and the healing powers they possessed, after which I started extensively researching and learned a lot.

After completing my Bachelors in Engineering and M.tech, I worked at a research company for a while which I eventually quit to pursue art full-time.

Soon I started posting on Instagram, and the love and appreciation I got from my followers gave me confidence to draw more and more.

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We can trace back the history of mandalas to ancient Buddhism and Hinduism. Do you connect with mandalas on a spiritual level?

Personally, I feel mandalas are meditative than spiritual. I can say that mandalas are a religion by themselves. While working on mandalas, you mostly use the subconscious mind, giving rest to the conscious mind. Creating a mandala calms me down and helps me get closure. I have curated a mandala colouring book for the same purpose.

I’m a standard Image Caption.

Some logs are made by the participants attending her workshops

The mandalas that you’ve created seem so flawless. How did you master the symmetry?

Trust me, there are a lot of flaws. There are times when I make a lot of errors and then are times when it comes out really well. The key is to keep trying until you become perfect.

What led to the inception of Prasun fine-arts?

Boredom. I was jobless and at home for a almost 6 months, and the peer pressure of getting a job got the best of me. I decided to start Prasun Fine arts in the summer of 2015, and since then I have never looked back.

What can one expect from your Mandala art workshops?

The participants of my workshop will go through the process of creating a Mandala design from scratch where in they are provided with worksheets which gives them the freedom to choose a pattern which they’d want to draw. 

Although you cannot achieve perfection in the first attempt, the attendees go back home happy and satisfied with their designs. 

Mandala art is immersive and gives the participants an experience they cannot forget. 


Do you agree that mandalas should include some element of free-flowing form rather than having the perfect mathematical symmetry?

No, Mandalas are supposed to be circular in nature. Any form of energy starts from a point and spreads into a circle. There are excellent examples of this in our universe, like the solar system, the Chakras or even a flower.

 Mandala art therapy is a form of psychotherapy which is supposed to help in finding a sense of healthy mental balance. What are your thoughts on the same?

Mandalas help in promoting a healthy mental balance by reducing stress, increasing attention span and dealing with depression. It can benefit all the age groups. Interestingly, people aged above 80 years also visit my workshop.

How has technology helped mandala art form to evolve?

Call me old school, but I prefer traditional art over digital art any day. I love the vibration between the pencil and the paper. Nonetheless, I use the iPad for designing tattoos as the customers come back with requests for modification. Technology is definitely a boon for artists like me, but one should start off with traditional mediums.

What inspired you to start urban sketching?

I’ve always loved trying out new things and appreciated the beauty in my surroundings. Drawing Mandalas was getting redundant and I wanted to try something different, that’s when I started drawing Urban landscapes. 

I am not very good at it, but I hope to be there soon.

If you were to meet your former self, what advice would you give?

I would ask my former self not to worry much about studies and start practising art earlier.

What advice would you give to the budding artists?

Keep practising and never give up. Explore what you like until you’re 35 (or even until later if you have the energy). Attend workshops and take up classes. Discover your passion and pursue it.

Studying may give knowledge, but practising art builds your overall personality, and that’s what matters at the end of the day.

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